Liverpool’s Clarence Docks were the venue for the second day of the tenth Liverpool Sound City festival. Over 5 stages, the festival brings some of the biggest names in music alongside up and coming bands from Liverpool and beyond.
Fresh from a support slot at Old Trafford in Manchester on Saturday, Cabbage played on the main Atlantic Stage in the early afternoon. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Liverpool Sound City was the only place to find a man with a packet of Space Raiders crisps on his head dancing in front of a bass drum with ‘Vote Labour’ printed on it. That image and songs such as ‘Necroflat In The Palace’ create a rebellious festival atmosphere that drew more people to the stage throughout the set. Next up on the same stage were Sheffield boys The Sherlocks, who’s debut album is set to release on August 18th. Their support came mainly from equally fresh-faced revellers at the front, they particularly enjoyed the inclusion of ‘Emily’, which featured for the first time in over four years.
Moving into the Baltic Stage, The Shimmer Band showed off their sonic rock and roll sound. New tune ‘What Is Mine’ swirls around the tent from front to back, lead singer Tom Newman has asserted his own style with a pair of alien-like glasses, the band as a whole are asserting their music. It’s not the first time they’ve played to a Liverpool crowd, and there’s a feeling the Bristol band are finding a second home on Merseyside. Milburn drew the biggest crowd of the day so far on the Atlantic Stage, they’re preparing for a huge show in hometown Sheffield’s Don Valley Bowl on Friday (2nd June) and their new songs sounded superb, none more so than ‘Take Me Home’ which is melodic and moody in equal measure.
Another band that are busy with new material are The Charlatans, they took over part of Manchester’s Northern Quarter on Friday 26th May as part of the launch for their latest album, ‘Different Days’. Frontman Tim Burgess was in conversation with self-confessed fan-girl Jen Otter-Bickerdike in Tim Peaks. After discussing the inclusion of the likes of Johnny Marr and Stephen Morris on the new EP, and chips peas and curry sauce, he and Mark Collins performed an acoustic set which for an equally ardent fan like myself was at times hypnotic. His blonde bob has become part of festival iconography in recent years, and it was no different at Sound City.
I was pleased to have a free slot in the evening to check out some of the other stages, and Leeds band Fizzy Blood caught my attention on the Cavern Stage. In front of the famous coloured bricks, they tore through their half an hour set to such an extent you might have been able to hear them from Mathew Street. Their tunes pull out all the stops and they have a future ahead as big as their sound. Away from the music, the poignant highlight was the appearance of Andy Burnham and Steve Rotherham, Mayors of Manchester and Liverpool respectively. The festival took place less than a week after the tragic events in Manchester last Monday evening, and Sound City observed a minutes silence before breaking into a rendition of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ at the Baltic Stage.
From nearby Wakefield, The Cribs continued their tour of their hit album ‘Mens Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever’ on the Baltic Stage. From the first chord of opener ‘Our Bovine Public’ chaos ensured in true Cribs fashion. I really could watch Wakefield’s premier punk rockers week-in, week-out, they blew me away as they always do. Following their set, which ended with ‘Come On, Be A No One’ and ‘Pink Snow’, it was only a quick walk back over to the Atlantic Stage to watch The Kooks close the festival. Hits ‘Shine On’ and ‘Naive’ were followed by confetti that covered a bumper crowd, and the tenth birthday celebrations were over. The festival may have lacked the green fields and sunshine of the midsummer events that will follow, but Liverpool Sound City is in itself unique in the intimacy and dense quality that is found on the city’s waterfront and can be regarded once again as a real success.